The first line was outside the Apple Store in a local mall. Folks were waiting in line to get a look at the newest IT product from Apple, the iPhone 3G and I can only assume to pay their $199 to get their hands on the new techno gadget. The second line was outside the new Plants and Butterflies Exhibit in the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. For a measly $6 ticket, one could come in close and personal contact with said plants and butterflies. For our family of 8 the commune with nature would have set us back $42. The third line was outside a new restaurant on East Capitol Street. The food looked pretty enticing, Greek, I think. They reminded me of the stories about long bread lines in the former USSR, the blocks and blocks of cars lined up for gas in the 70s during the oil crisis, or the lines for soup kitchens during the great depression. Do you see the stark contrast I'm going for here?
When I was going through RCIA 13 years ago, our priest gave a lecture about worldliness. The one thing he said that has always stuck with me was, "We are called to be in this world, but not part of the world." Those words came back to me as I observed those lines. It is a balancing act, to be sure, to be in the world and yet not part of it. The rampant consumerism of this age often terrifies me. We all get the "I wants" from time to time. I often find myself struggling with it. Seeing those lines reminded me how much I need to remain vigilant in praying for the grace to keep myself and my family focused on the True Prize (Philippians 3: 12-14).
Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us!